Two weeks ago, I presented Part 1 of this book review and today I will continue with Part 2. There is so much good stuff to talk about in this book that I cannot guarantee I will be able to include everything in just two parts. There may be a Part 3!
Anthony Buono, President of the on-line dating site, avemariasingles.com, recently wrote a book called, Would You Date You? In Part 1, I shared my thoughts about Anthony and how I had a positive experience with him and with on-line dating. I also outlined two main areas in which Anthony and I appear to not be in sync:
- Whether God arranges marriage, and
- If God has a specific person in mind for us when it comes to marriage.
Two Different Perspectives
Anthony believes that God is not in the matchmaking business and that there is no such thing as a soul mate. I believe that God arranges marriages and has a specific person in mind for us.
As I stated in Part 1, the Catholic Church does not have an official doctrine that supports either opinion. Rightly so, the Church understands that God is a mystery and figuring out His will is not an exact science.
Okay, so I believe that God arranges marriages and has a specific person in mind for us. But, how does this work given the fact that we have the gift of free will? My belief is that the power of grace, when we are open to it, influences us. The Holy Spirit is alive within us and speaks to us! And our guardian angels whisper in our ears and move us in specific directions. God knows ahead of time what we will do and He allows for events and people to influence us. And somehow all the stars align at the right time.
But, this begs the question, ‘Can we miss God’s will?’ Yes, we can.
What About Missed Vocations?
Maybe the reason Anthony thinks that God is not in the matchmaking business is because of how impossible it is to explain why some remain unmarried (missed vocations) and why some divorce (misused freedom?). I cannot speak for him but he may be defaulting to the philosophical conclusion that it is because God is ‘uninvolved.’
I am also at a loss on how to explain these missed vocations and divorces. But, I refuse to believe that our loving God is uninvolved. As I have stated before, there is the possibility that one (or both) of the singles misused their gift of free will and failed to do their part (by staying in God’s will). This is called a “missed vocation.” And, it is a heartbreaking mystery.
Although this does not come across in Anthony’s book, I was really happy to find a number of quotes by him which (I think) show that he does believe in Divine Guidance when it comes to marriage and our spouse:
”I completely agree that men and women must make the effort to get out there. But finding a good deal and discovering love is so much more about God’s hand than it is our effort. I’ve said before: love is a mystery. It cannot be determined by us.”
“Because God is love, finding someone special and falling in love is, in a very mysterious and intangible way, about two people moved by God Himself toward each other, sometimes without even realizing it or understanding why.”
“God allowed them to find it for some unknown reason. Why they found it, rather than someone else, cannot be answered. It certainly cannot be attributed to determination or the will to find it.”
I believe in Divine providence and that our loving God wants us to know His will for our lives. If we tune in to Him, He will reveal it to us. The revealing of His will is often only seen in hindsight and not before hand. But nevertheless, the evidence is there that a Force greater than us is responsible and leading us. Scripture supports this throughout the bible. Scripture shows that people had free will but God’s plan still somehow prevailed (I will share these bible events in a future post!). I don’t know how God does it but He does.
For example, as I shared in Part 1, God used Anthony to encourage me to stay in the on-line dating world. Anthony’s actions kept me on the path to meet my husband! I believe the Holy Spirit guided Anthony. God’s Divine providence was played out by His people (Anthony, Gregg and me) who responded, with their gift of free will, to His guidance and prompting. Both Gregg and I can look back on our lives, with the benefit of hindsight and with the eyes of faith, and see God’s hand leading us toward each other (I will share the specifics in a future post!).
Unlike me, Anthony is not a believer in the concept of a soul mate so his book does not discuss this aspect of marital love. He feels that the concept is dangerous and can lead to divorce. He explains in this article that when marriages don’t work out, people conclude that they married the wrong person. Then they try to justify the divorce so that they can be set free to find their ‘soul mate.’ He explains that it is better to stick with it and work it out. I agree with him!
However, you have to wonder if the concept of the soul mate is really the problem. My opinion is that unchaste behavior can lead to blindness and this blindness can cause us to marry a person who is not good for us. My opinion is supported by the low, low divorce rate of those committed to Chastity before and with marriage who don’t seem to be out looking for their soul mate. They have already found them and are happy! Either way, once the vows have been made, I, along with Anthony, agree that one must stick with their choice and work it out. Our God is the Great Redeemer!
I have to add that my belief in the idea of a soul mate only enhances my love for Gregg. Even after 10 years of marriage and the occasional ‘mad as a hornet’ feelings (ha ha)(hormones), I know without a doubt that his soul is my soul’s ‘one and only’ mate by Divine Design.
A Number of Prospects?
Anthony stated, “the fact is God is helping us come into contact with good prospects, but he does not have just one person set aside for us. We do the choosing and God does the blessing.”
I, on the other hand, believe that God does have a person set aside for us and leads us to that person…if we cooperate and if the other person cooperates. In addition, I believe that God puts a protective Veil over us as a way of hiding us from every possible suitor but the one He has chosen for us. But we can work against this protection and go our own way. And, unfortunately, so can the one God has for us.
However, the idea that God paraded a number of good “prospects” in front of Gregg and me and we just happened to pick each other does not ring true for me. I honestly cannot imagine being married to anyone other than Gregg. We are perfect….for each other.
Call me “overly sentimental” but if Gregg thought that I was just one of many suitable partners, I would kind of be offended. I just wonder what it says about a man who thinks this about his wife? Does he look at her and think, “Yeah, Linda could have made me just as happy.” I just cannot relate to this and, thankfully, neither can Gregg.
When I look at Gregg and when he looks at me, we clearly believe that we were meant for each other. No one else could make me happy and no one else could understand and tolerate me. Many have tried, only to fail. This love is supernatural. It was not random.
Blessed Pope John Paul II
I am reading a book by George Weigel called The Truth of Catholicism (omgoodness! So good! Yes, a future book review). In it he discusses Blessed Pope JPII as “a celebrant of sexual love who has been saying to the sexual revolution….‘Human sexuality is greater than you think.‘” Weigel writes that “some would argue that the Pope has too high a view of sexual love.”
When I read that I felt like I could be accused of the same thing. Some may think that I have too high a view of marriage and sexual love and that it is naïve of me to put so much stock in God’s desire to make heavenly matches. But, really, what is more important than for us to be as the Pope describes “fully human and flourishing” through faithful, fruitful and free sexual love?
I am not sure that all things matter to God. But, it is my belief who we share our human sexuality with matters to God. He designed each of us and knows who will make us fully human and with whom we will fully flourish.
Does It Matter?
Anthony may understandably say that my belief that God arranges marriage and has a specific person in mind for us is unrealistic. So, let’s suppose that it is! Let’s suppose that Anthony is correct and that God does leave it in our hands and up to chance. How would you conduct yourself if that were the case?
Would you keep your commitment to Chastity?
Would you endeavor to become closer to God and strive for holiness?
Would you stay committed to living a Sacramental life?
Would you want a man to take the initiative and chase you?
Would you have faith in God’s love for you and His goodness?
If you answered ‘yes’ to all the above, I feel sure that Anthony and I would agree that you are on the right path.
Now that I have presented Part 2, I will provide a review of other details in Anthony’s book in Part 3 next week. Stay tuned!
God love and bless you!
Anthony’s book is available on Amazon in soft cover or through Kindle
** Next week: Book Review: Would You Date You? Part 3
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